“After taking into account various things at a meeting with the Transportation Ministry, KNKT (National Committee for Transportation Safety), DVI (Disaster Victim Identification) team, and other relevant parties, we (have decided) to extend the SAR operation by another three days,” Basarnas chief, Vice Marshal Bagus Puruhito, said at the Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT), Pier 2, Jakarta on Monday.
During the extended search operation, Basarnas will evaluate its daily findings to assess the outcome, effectiveness, and obstacles in the field, he informed.
In addition, it will also reassess developments to decide further steps in the search operation, he said.
On January 15, 2021, Basarnas had extended the search operation by three days following a week long search for victims and debris of the Sriwijaya Air plane, which had crashed in the waters off Seribu Islands on January 9, 2021.
As of Monday (January 18, 2021), the SAR team was yet to retrieve the second black box that contains the flight’s cockpit voice recorder. Meanwhile, the diving team continued to find body parts of the ill-fated plane's passengers.
Puruhito said these were the two reasons behind the SAR team's decision to extend the search operation.
He said bad weather had also hampered the search operation.
The Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182, bearing the registration number PK-CLC, had lost contact on January 9, 2021, at 2:40 p.m. Western Indonesia time (WIB) shortly after take-off and crashed between Lancang Island and Laki Island, Thousand Islands, DKI Jakarta. The plane had departed from Jakarta and was headed to Pontianak.
Based on the manifest, the plane had 50 passengers and 12 crew members on board. Of the total passengers, 40 were adults, seven were children, and three were infants.
Meanwhile, the DVI team has identified five more bodies of passengers traveling on the flight, bringing the count of bodies identified as of Sunday evening to 29.
The five bodies were identified through the examination of DNA samples, Brig. Gen. Rusdi Hartono, chief of the public information bureau of the public relations division at the National Police, stated at a press conference at the Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta, on Sunday.
The DVI team had received the DNA samples of all the plane's passengers as of Friday last week (January 15, 2021).
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